The Soil Foodweb
What is the soil foodweb? It's the set of organisms that perform the functions that allow plants to grow normally, without the need for toxic chemical inputs. A set of healthy organisms, a healthy soil foodweb if you will, gives plants the following necessary functions:
A healthy foodweb includes thousands of species of bacteria and fungi, protozoa and nematodes all of whom combat diseases causing organisms. Unfortunately, they are among the first to be killed when using pesticides and high levels of inorganic fertilizers.
Ever wonder why fertilizers have to be added every year in chemically intensive systems? Because it is the organisms in the healthy foodweb that retain those nutrients, and once those organisms are killed, soil cannot hold on to those nutrients. N, P, S, and calcium, as examples, will leach from the soil without the nutrient-retention abilities of the millions if not billions or more living bacteria and fungi that should be present in your soil.